Dick Kuo, M.D., Interim Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine
Dick C. Kuo M.D.

Baylor College of Medicine has announced a new Department of Emergency Medicine, elevating the section previously a part of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Dick C. Kuo, associate professor of emergency medicine, will be the interim chair. The department status and chair appointment are effective immediately.

“Emergency medicine is a high priority for Baylor College of Medicine,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor president, CEO and executive dean. “It has become more interdisciplinary in nature, with a distinctive organizational structure, a separate training program and a unique research portfolio.”

The departmental status of adult emergency medicine will allow the department to grow autonomously and set its own goals, including developing a nationally recognized academic emergency medicine program.

“The Texas Medical Center is renowned for acute care, so this is very exciting,” said Dr. Ashok Balasubramanyam, vice president for academic integration at Baylor and senior associate dean for academic affairs. “Baylor and its associated hospitals have a long and distinguished history of providing acute care and trauma management to the Houston community. This is a great time to consolidate training, practice and research in the medical, surgical, radiological and toxicological areas of this emerging specialty at Baylor.”

A dedicated Department of Emergency Medicine will help to keep Baylor on trend with other academic medical school-based emergency medicine programs, enhance faculty growth and experience, put Baylor at the forefront of an increasingly developing field, and elevate the reputation of its programs. The departmental status will also aid in the recruitment of high caliber faculty and learners at all levels, as well as contributing to the enhancement of efficiency and quality of care, and improving patient outcomes.

Having grown up in Houston, Kuo received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, attended medical school at UT Southwestern and did his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland.

With the departmental status officially approved, a search committee will begin its pursuit to identify a Chair to lead the department.

“Most importantly, the inaugural chair must possess exceptional organizational skills to manage the new department across the three adult hospitals – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, the DeBakey VA and Ben Taub – and have a strong vision for the direction and future growth of the department after we transition to the McNair campus,” said Balasubramanyam.

With the development of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Baylor joins the list of just seven other active medical school-based emergency medicine residency programs in Texas.